Posted by SuperMario on 17 July 2018 with categories: Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro, Currently Watching:

The misadventures of Chio-chan on her way to school continues with some extra flavour. As of now, Chio-chan splits its segments neatly in two halves, the first deals with Chio encounters the absurd events on her way to school, and the latter details her relationship with her friends. One highlights the adventure spirits of this title, the other provides more heart and depth. I don’t mind at all with this formula, since it’s done right so far, but I figure Chio-chan will eventually mix things up a bit in future episodes. The key that ties both segment together, is Chio herself. So far, she’s super relatable character, both due to her commitment to do her best not to stand out, but always find herself standing out in more ways than one, and due to her social anxiety that makes her both charming and real. The best weapon is her monologue, helped by her wild imagination (I say games help her much in that department), and it’s fun to see her stream of thought runs in free form and how she eventually makes her head-stretching decision. Being said that, the bit that I have mixed feeling about is Chio-chan’s OP, which play up the fan-service I normally avoid: jiggling boobs for one, long tongue for another, even nudist!!?

In the first segment, our Chio finds herself in a bind, quite literally, between herself, the blonde yakuza dude (he’s voiced by the seiyuu who voiced Nitta last season. Coincidence? I think not), his motorbike and a random bald salaryman. This is the motorbiker with an unzip pant in the OP (he zipped this time, I checked), but from the bike alone you can pretty tell that… he’s a delightfully weird dude. Pink motorcycle? And that weird seat? The situation where that salaryman and Chio have to walk quietly on the side is both hilarious and relatable, but there’s one nippick regarding that. Chio-chan gave an accurate explanation of the exhaust pipe, but it leaves more than a mark and a scream out of it. I’ve experienced it before and I’m pretty sure kids growing up in a motorbike culture experienced at least one in their lives. It’s second-degree burn for Christ sake so having Chio acts like nothing happened with her leg afterward is a huge slip of reality.

If I would point out a theme for this segment, it’s that these characters carry the persona that don’t match their appearances. That “salaryman” turns out just a guy who is about to interview for part-time job (haha), and Chio, especially, embraces her “Bloody Butterfly” persona so effectively she fools the blonde biker. That persona might be a fake, but her reasons are strangely convincing (it has to do with the games she plays, but well…). While yes, it’s hilarious all the way to see how she manages to change the yakuza’s mind and STILL manages to stand out in front of her peers despite trying best to be “a normal high school girl”, I feel that the way she does it isn’t that convincing. Like, does she knock the guy out of consciousness by that swing? It might be a part of the absurdist but I’d love for a more crazy version than this.

The second half though is where Chio-chan totally grabs me again. If there’s a variation of supporting characters that I enjoy, it’s a normal girl who use her meanie acts as a mean to justify her own frustration AKA a true brat (last season we have Mami from Hinamatsuri, this season we have the entire cast in Asobe Asobase). Manana fits this bill like a glove. The mutual understanding between her and Chio (that they consider each other a trash, yet they deserve each other) is surprisingly solid. And throughout this episode we can see how (small-minded) devilish this girl can become to step up her social ladder. We see her spreading rumors behind people’s back, we see her snipping around spying on people, we see her telling lies to get other’s approval… this is delicious, I tell ya. Especially when her own efforts to get close to Hosokawa fallen into pieces when it turns out the guy she was just bad-mouthing is Hosokawa’s running buddy, and a president if some company to boost. Right then, she feels the distance between her and Hosokawa just like the distance she leaves Chio behind.

My favorite part of the whole episode, however, is when Chio and Manana spy on Hosokawa in hope for witnessing something lewd, but it backfires and they find themselves near-kiss each other instead (or is it officially their first kiss? They denied so, though). Both their reactions are pitch perfect (Manana ‘s blush, slowly touches her lip – Chio: snap out of that yuri-tone, Manana). It’s those off kilter moments like this that makes following Chio and her friends around such an amusing watch. They are equally mean, in addition, to point out that the guy’s a fake in front of Hosokawa. But it doesn’t matter, since the love for running is there. Based on the OP I would say that Hosokawa will have something more than her “perfect girl” status later on. Being both absurd and grounded, Chio-chan so far is going strong.

Note: I’m using Chio when I refer to the character and Chio-chan when I refer to the show. Hope you can recognize the distinction.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Amagi says:

    That’s the most relatable comedy I’ve seen in a while. For some reason Asobi Asobase doesn’t work at all for me but this does. What’s even the big difference? I think the inner monologue and the game addiction do help a lot in making Chio more relatable and the comedy funnier, but I feel like the frequency of puns is just unusually high for an anime here too.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Yeah, Chio is so relatable. I mean I get most of her inner thoughts. And even Manana. Imagine the moment she realizes her social-climbing scheme fails, she turns right back to Chio. The comedic bits between these two just flow naturally overall.

      We will have to disagree on Asobi Asobase then. 2 episodes in, I’m still very fond of it. As they say, anime comedy don’t work for everyone.

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